The Powerful Ephemeral - Book Review

768 Words4 Pages
Yash V. Singhania ANS-340 5/1/2014 Book Review: The Powerful Ephemeral In this wonderful and carefully written book, Carla Bellamy presents remarkable insight on the role of Muslim saint shrines in India, particularly Husain Tekri, as well as the configuration of local religious cultures and traditions in India. Through her comprehensive ethnographic research, Bellamy’s work allows for the reader to view a dynamic interpretation of the shrine complex. Her powerful analyses refute claims on religion, the body, and power. Focusing mainly on spirit possessions and metaphysical power, the author explores the experience and importance for those who visit Husain Tekri and participate in the rituals. Her vivid descriptions and use of first person narratives of pilgrims provides assistance to comprehend the complexity and intricacy of religious healing in South Asia. The book begins with an introduction that discusses the concepts of cross tradition popularity, power, and efficacy of Muslim saint shrines in India. Bellamy contextualizes her terminology in relation to previous historical and ethnographic study of dargāhs, which provides an understanding of her framework around interpretation. She also introduces the book: Muslim Shrines in India: Their Character, History, and Significance from which she expands the discussion on the legitimacy and authority of dargāhs. This comparative analysis enhances her arguments, as well as supports introducing the detailed subject matter. Moreover, she argues dargāhs function as a center of alliance and exchange between many different communities on both local and trans local levels. The book is divided into five sections: section one discusses the making of a pilgrimage and the pilgrimage center, section two discusses people that visit the dargāhs, section three discuses various rituals, sections four discusses the workings of

More about The Powerful Ephemeral - Book Review

Open Document